Business

The Salt
1:24 am
Mon November 12, 2012

To Get Around Tax Hike, Spanish Theater Sells Carrots Not Tickets

At the Bescanó municipal theater in northeastern Spain, director Quim Marcé (center) and actresses Meritxell Yanes (left) and Elena Martinell (right) display carrots for sale.
Quim Marcé

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 3:41 pm

In Spain, new austerity measures mean higher sales tax on everything from beer and wine to clothing and movie tickets. But in Bescanó, a small town in the country's northeast, the local theater director has come up with a rather creative way to get around a new 21 percent tax on tickets for plays at his theater –- by selling carrots instead.

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Environment
1:23 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Weighing The Prospects Of The Keystone XL Pipeline

President Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in May in Cushing, Okla. Obama is under pressure to make a decision on the future of the pipeline during his second term.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 8:17 am

Among the difficult decisions facing President Obama is whether to give the go-ahead for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would bring oil from Canada down to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Environmentalists want it blocked. They are concerned about endangering the Nebraska sand hills, under which is the largest aquifer in the country. It provides drinking water and irrigation water for several states.

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Economy
3:30 am
Sun November 11, 2012

How The Fiscal Cliff Would Hit The Economy

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner at the White House in July 2011. They are scheduled to meet at the White House again next week to discuss the looming fiscal cliff.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 2:05 pm

This week, President Obama will meet with congressional leaders to begin working out a deal to avert a budget calamity commonly known as the fiscal cliff.

Economists are unanimous in saying that if the leaders fail to keep the country from going over the "cliff," both the stock and labor markets will fairly quickly go "splat."

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Music News
3:09 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Love To Hate Nickelback? Joke's On You

Nickelback's Chad Kroeger performs during halftime of a Canadian football game in Vancouver. On the band's own tours, expensive pyrotechnics are more rare.
Jeff Vinnick Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 6:23 pm

Nickelback. The name itself is musical shorthand for everything music aficionados love to hate about modern rock.

But with more than 50 million record sales worldwide and a lead singer who earns $10 million a year, the band is laughing all the way to the bank — as reporter Ben Paynter describes in Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine.

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All Tech Considered
4:32 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Google, Facebook And The Next Billion Users

Men look at mobile phones at the Adjame market in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The market for mobile telephones in developing countries has grown quickly, and now Facebook and Google are trying to get users to use the Internet on their devices.
Issouf Sanogo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 10:47 am

The chances are slim that a person living in poverty in a developing nation has access to the Internet on a computer. It's expensive and, in some places, there's a lack of infrastructure to support it.

The chances are better, though, that that person owns a cellphone. It's probably not an iPhone or an Android, and he or she probably hasn't purchased a data plan for it, but it has the ability to access the Internet.

Google believes that this category of cellphone user is the future of its expansion.

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Europe
3:24 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Retro London Cabs On The Road Toward Extinction

The company that makes London's iconic taxis has had financial difficulties, leaving cabbies in a lurch.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:54 am

Cabbie John Crowood's traditional London taxi was one among hordes as he began trundling through the city's streets with so many other benevolent black beetles more than 30 years ago.

Today, he's one of a dwindling band. Crowood says that the only company that makes the classic retro London cab had to recall 400 of its newest vehicles after a mechanical defect was found, leaving hundreds of his fellow cabbies unable to ply their trade.

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It's All Politics
4:12 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Upside To Plunging Off The Fiscal Cliff

With Congress on the edge of a fiscal cliff, set to occur Jan. 1, some say a fiscal plunge is exactly what's needed to break the political logjam.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 10:17 am

Now that the election is over, Washington is transfixed by the fiscal cliff, the automatic tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect Jan. 1 if nothing is done.

The sudden shock could seriously damage the economy.

But some Democrats and policy analysts are suggesting that going over the fiscal cliff could help break the political logjam.

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World
1:02 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

To Combat Sanctions, Iran Buys Up Gold

Iranian women look at a jewelry shop display in Tehran, Iran, in 2010. Iran now appears to be stockpiling gold in an attempt to stabilize its economy, which has been hit hard by Western sanctions.
Atta Lenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 10:17 am

Iran is stockpiling gold. That's the way David Cohen sees it. He's undersecretary of the Treasury, and the Treasury's point man for the banking sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Iran.

"Iran is attempting to hoard gold, both by acquiring it and by preventing the export of gold from Iran, in a somewhat desperate attempt to try and defend the value of its currency," Cohen says.

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Planet Money
4:29 am
Fri November 9, 2012

The Secret Genius Of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, Red, sold 1.2 million copies in its first week, the highest first-week sales total in a decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 8:14 am

Taylor Swift's new album, Red, sold more 1.2 million copies in its first week — the highest first-week sales total for an album in over a decade. She did it partly by answering a surprisingly complicated question: What's the best way to sell an album?

There are so many ways to release your music these days. You can sell it at Amazon, iTunes, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks. You can release it to streaming sites like Spotify. You can go on tour.

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Business
2:28 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Sandy's Effects 'Staggering' To New York's Economy

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also held a press conference yesterday, and gave a warning that Sandy could end up costing his state $33 billion in economic damage, which could worsen the state's already-perilous fiscal situation.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Cuomo said the initial estimates are that the storm will cost the region $50 billion in lost economic activity and infrastructure damage. And he said two-thirds of that will be borne by New York.

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Business
2:28 am
Fri November 9, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:46 am

The fragrance company Demeter has introduced a new sushi scent. The company's website says it offers a whiff of seaweed and rice with a lemon-ginger essence. But it isn't fishy.

Economy
2:28 am
Fri November 9, 2012

CBO: 'Fiscal Cliff' Could Put U.S. Back In Recession

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Speaker Boehner also said he wants to work with the president to keep them from going over the fiscal cliff - higher taxes and spending cuts that take effect at the end of the year. The Congressional Budget Office warns of a new recession if Congress doesn't make changes. NPR's Scott Horsley has our daily look at the bottom line.

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Business
2:28 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an attempt to shorten gas lines.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Business
1:21 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Car Dealers Sue Tesla, Citing State Franchise Laws

A Tesla Motors showroom in San Jose, Calif. Car dealers in New York and Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit that seeks to block Tesla from selling its vehicles in those states.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:46 am

Tesla Motors usually makes headlines for its technology. Its new Model S is the first entirely electric vehicle to be named car of the year by Automobile Magazine.

Friday's news is less flattering: A judge in New York will take up a lawsuit against the company about how Tesla sells its cars.

When Mark Seeger bought a Tesla in Seattle, he was actually just looking for a pair of shoes.

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The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

CBO Warns Again: Ignoring Fiscal Cliff Could Result In Recession

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:57 pm

The so-called fiscal cliff is a double-edged sword, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says in a new report issued today.

Why? Ignoring the huge tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the beginning of the year "will probably cause the economy to fall back into a recession."

But: "They will make the economy stronger later in the decade and beyond."

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Economy
2:54 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Corn Belt Farmland: The Newest Real Estate Bubble?

This field is part of a 160-acre tract in Saline County, Mo., that sold for $10,700 per acre in February — double what it would have gone for five years ago.
Abby Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:02 pm

Howard Audsley has been driving through Missouri for the past 30 years to assess the value of farmland. Barreling down the flat roads of Saline County on a recent day, he stopped his truck at a 160-acre tract of newly tilled black land. The land sold in February for $10,700 per acre, double what it would have gone for five years ago.

Heading out into the field, Audsley picked up a clod of the dirt that makes this pocket of land some of the priciest in the state.

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The Salt
2:41 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

You Can Thank A Whey Refinery For That Protein Smoothie

Tim Opper, of Cabot Cheese, inspects equipment that separates whey protein from sugar in the company's whey processing plant.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 7:52 am

If you've ever checked the ingredient list on a PowerBar or a high-protein smoothie, you probably have stumbled across these words: "Whey protein concentrate." You'll find it in a growing number of prepared foods.

This mysterious ingredient is derived from one of the oldest of human foods — milk. But capturing it requires huge factories that look more like oil refineries than farms.

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Economy
10:06 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Can Bipartisanship Save Us From The Fiscal Cliff?

The election is over and the deadline for the so-called "fiscal cliff" is drawing closer. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about how the two relate, and what it could mean for America's economic future.

The Two-Way
8:19 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Word To The Wise: Change Your Twitter Password

Twitter.com

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:23 am

The news is spreading that Twitter is warning quite a few users that their accounts may have been compromised and that they should immediately change their passwords.

TechCrunch says, "keep your eyes peeled Twitter users: Twitter is sending out emails to some of its users telling them it has reset their password and asking them to create a new one."

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Thu November 8, 2012

McDonald's Has First Drop In Key Sales Figure Since 2003

The golden arches at a McDonald's restaurant in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 7:50 pm

Fast-food giant McDonald's said today that revenue at its restaurants that have been open at least 13 months fell 1.8 percent in October — the first time it has suffered a month-to-month decline in that key indicator since April 2008, according to BloombergBusinessweek.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Jobless Claims Fell By 8,000 Last Week; Superstorm Sandy Might Be Factor

Job-related booklets at a New York State Department of Labor Employment Services office in Brooklyn.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

There were 355,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down by 8,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

But a measure designed to show the trend edged up: "The 4-week moving average was 370,500, an increase of 3,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 367,250."

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Europe
3:54 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Greeks In Store For More Austerity Cuts

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And during the presidential campaign, Greece and its crushing debt often came up as a cautionary tale, as in don't let America become another Greece.

That country has now approved yet another round of deep budget cuts to avoid bankruptcy, which in turn prompted another round of protests, as Joanna Kakissis reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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Around the Nation
3:51 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Mich. Voters Defeat 2 Organized Labor Ballot Issues

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:46 am

Unions poured millions of dollars into ballot campaigns to guarantee collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution and allow state-paid home care assistants to organize into a union. Both were resoundingly defeated.

Business
3:51 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Labor Strife Pits Immigrants Against Immigrants

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a strike by workers in Milwaukee, is pitting a group of Mexican immigrants against their employer - a family-owned business that itself was founded by immigrants. As WBEZ's Niala Boodhoo reports, the dispute - involving workers and their legal status - reflects struggles of other immigrants in the workplace.

NIALA BOODHOO, BYLINE: You could call Palermo's Pizza the quintessential American success story. The company was started by Italian immigrant Gaspare Fallucca, from a small bakery and restaurant on Milwaukee's East Side.

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Business
3:51 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 7:00 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a whole bunch of insurance plans.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Maybe also some auto industry stimulus here. As many as a quarter million cars and trucks damaged when Sandy stormed up the East Coast will have to be scrapped. That's according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. The estimate is less than the 325,000 cars ruined by Hurricane Katrina, but it's still an awful lot of cars.

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NPR Story
3:35 am
Thu November 8, 2012

South Africa Bank Notes Feature Nelson Mandela

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is Mandela money.

That's Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and first black president of South Africa. He's now also the first black person to grace South Africa's currency.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
1:30 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Hospitals Gamble On Urgent Care Clinics To Keep Patients Healthy

Dr. Wanda Simmons-Clemmons examines Dawn Antonelli at the PromptCare urgent care clinic.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 2:51 pm

When Stephen Wheeler realized he had an aching, swollen finger, he called his primary care doctor, who works for MedStar Health. The doctor referred him to PromptCare, an urgent care clinic in a strip mall in the Baltimore suburbs.

Wheeler says he probably would have ended up waiting a long time if he'd gone to the doctor. And even longer at the emergency room.

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The Salt
1:29 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Americans Rediscover The Kick Of Hard Cider

A growing number of U.S. consumers are finding much to enjoy in this fruity alcoholic beverage, driving an increase in cider sales. The Vermont Hard Cider Company now produces 70,000 cases of Woodchuck Hard Cider each week.
Ben Sarle Vermont Hard Cider Company

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 2:52 pm

A couple hundred years ago. hard apple cider used to be the drink of choice for thirsty Americans. It was easy to make and easy to find. But as people moved into cities, and beer became more popular, cider fell out of fashion.

Now it's come roaring back. U.S. hard cider sales are up 65 percent over last year, and just about all the big beer companies sell it, as well as many artisan brewers. Finding cider at your local bar is often no longer a problem.

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U.S.
1:26 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Opening Lines Set For A Deal To Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday that House Republicans are willing to accept new revenues "under the right conditions."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 2:50 pm

With the election over, attention in Washington has turned to the nation's debt and deficit challenges — most immediately the looming fiscal cliff. That's the $600 billion worth of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts set to start taking effect Jan. 1.

The president and Congress agreed to those automatic measures to force themselves to find a more palatable compromise to rein in deficits. On Wednesday, there was an attempt to jump-start that process.

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Shots - Health News
1:25 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Obamacare Is Here To Stay, But In What Form?

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signs a bill in June 2011 to pave the way for a health insurance exchange in the state.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 8:46 am

President Obama's re-election and the retention of a Democratic majority in the Senate means the likelihood of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act has receded.

So what now?

"The law is here and we should at this point expect it to still be here Jan. 1, 2014," says Alan Weil, executive director of the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy.

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